“Walking is also an ambulation of mind.”


~ Gretel Ehrlich ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo of my time-worn sandals taken in Paris in May 2018.

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“Il est interdit d’interdire.”
“It is forbidden to forbid.”


~ Graffiti in Paris May 1968 ~


Digitally enhanced image “1968” created from an original photo of street art taken in Paris in May 2018.

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“Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties.”


~ Gail Sheehy ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken in Paris in May 2018.

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“Paris is always a good idea.”


~ Audrey Hepburn ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo of the inside of the entrance to Jim Morrison’s apartment building at 17 Rue Beautreillis taken in Paris in May 2018. The door to the stairwell is on the left, the street entrance to the right.

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This is the third installment in a continuing series of excerpts
taken from a long prose poem started at the end of the 1980’s.





009x-paradoxTo be continued…

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This is the second installment in a continuing series of excerpts
taken from a long prose poem started at the end of the 1980’s.






006x-paradoxTo be continued…

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This is the first installment in a continuing series of excerpts
taken from a long prose poem started at the end of the 1980’s.




002x-paradoxTo be continued…

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Yesterday I wrote about grayness. Today, an excerpt with sunlight, from a work in progress…


The Old Man In The Taberna


It was August. I lay stretched out on the beach soaking up the sun. I’d been lying there for most of a month, living on the beach with a sleeping bag and a small tent, staying as drunk and as stoned as possible and balling a German girl I’d met on the beach. At the taberna up in the dunes behind me I could hear a donkey braying, probably the one that the grizzled old drunkard’s wife would bring at the end of the afternoon or evening to drape him over and drag him home.

One evening I was sitting with the German girl in the taberna, plying her with ouzo to get her in the proper mood for a long night of lovemaking on the beach when the unshaven old man stumbled onto the tavern’s veranda, sat down at our table and ordered ouzo. He spoke no English or German, but indicated that he wanted to know where we were from. When the girl said Deutschland a real mean and nasty look filled his face. “Germania?” he said in a hoarse voice, “Germania!” He looked at her intensely with his dark eyes growing sharp and deep and repeated, “Germania?” He then took his wrinkled finger and dragged it in a swift movement across his throat. A look of shock coloured her face. Obviously he sill had memories of the war, when the Nazis had committed numerous atrocities during their occupation of Greece. He continued to scowl at her and slid his hand across his throat again. Then he turned his attention to me, waiting for a reply. When I told him that I was from America, the old man’s face lit up and he became animated. “America! America!’ he exclaimed, enthusiastically shaking my hand and kissing me repeatedly on the cheek. I can still feel the stubble on his face and smell his cigarette breath. He even got up a few times and staggered around to slap me on the back. “America, America,” he kept repeating and then started ordering one ouzo after another for me, while every now and then giving her a dirty look, another throat slitting sign and grumbling, “Germania.”

After one too many ouzos he finally nodded off, just as his wife showed up with the donkey. I helped her drape him over it and they waddled off into the night. The girl and I finished our last ouzos and stumbled down through the dunes, first to smoke some hashish and then spend a rather blurry night balling in the sand under a clear black sky filled with millions of stars. I left the island not too long after that and never saw the German girl again. Over the decades since then I have often wondered if, on one of those nebulous nights on that beautiful Grecian beach under all those twinkling eyes of the universe, I didn’t somehow plant a seed. I suppose I’ll never know. Ah, but then, I might be forgiven my youthful impudence, after all, it was the 70’s, when we were young, loose, carefree, foolish and, above all, so very much alive…

Naxos 3A view of the beach on the island of Naxos, seen from up in the mountain range that ran along the shoreline. Photo taken with a 110 format pocket camera in August 1979.

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…life and love are at once strange and beautiful…

Special thanks to Ellen for the original idea…



000 The Twenty-Ninth

Digital painting “Reclining Nude” created in 2011.

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…somewhere in a dark corner of an overflowing brain, this memory still exists…


000 Mr. Frog

Mr. Frog, his paint almost completely faded, his body cracked in spots and the air valve in his back long lost, will be celebrating his 66th birthday this year. And, properly held, he can still stick out his tongue. Photo taken in January 2016.

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“…’twas a wonderful time when the tide was high,”
said the oyster to the clam…

A continuation of the earlier post titled High Tide…



000 High Tide IIPhoto taken in October 2015. Clicking on the photo renders it larger.

The first High Tide post can be accessed here:


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“…’twas a wonderful time when the tide was high,”
said the oyster to the clam…



000 high tideImage “Woman With A Cigarette” created in September 2015.


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The train was running late. Somewhere down the line between Kaiserslautern and Saarbrucken another train had derailed and mine had to be rerouted. That added about forty minutes to the travel time from Frankfurt to Paris. After arriving at Gare de l’Est I grabbed a taxi and headed across the city to my apartment. The ride through the busy streets on a Saturday afternoon took about fifteen minutes, weaving through the cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians, passing by Notre Dame, and then heading up the hill behind the Sorbonne and then past the Pantheon, gliding down the Rue Gay Lussac into the lesser-known side streets of the 5th arrondissement. Once at the apartment, after unpacking and stowing away my photography equipment, I took one camera and happily hit the streets. Once again I was a free man in Paris, with the city and all of its energy and inspiration pulsating around me. I wasn’t on the street for five minutes when I came upon the first of many newly created examples of street art. It was going to be a good stay. And I knew that I was home again…


000 CharlieStreet art in Paris by Jérôme Mesnager. Photo taken in May 2015.


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Writers are persistent revisers. This is for the most part a good thing because sometimes the first draft just doesn’t cut the mustard. For example, take Gertrude Stein’s famous line in the poem Sacred Emily, “a rose is a rose is a rose.” Things might have turned out quite different without a bit of revision…


000 Rosa RugosaPhoto taken in Paris near the Eiffel Tower in May 2014.


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…After arriving in the late afternoon they made love in the small hacienda of a banana plantation on a volcanic island off the west coast of Africa. She lay on the bed, her breasts delicately rouged in the soft pink colour that comes with arousal, slowly spreading like a tropical sunrise as it paints the morning clouds. Her nipples hardened with anticipation, with hunger for the touch and then begging the suckle. As he lay beside her, he moved his fingers in a dilatory dance down her zaftig thigh, a slow sensuous delicate waltz designed to prolong that first slip into fluid ecstasy as long as possible. And when the nectar overflowed and he finally hove into port at high tide, she leaned her head back sighed over and over again, “What are you doing to me, what are you doing?” And he thought to himself as he drove in a little harder, a little deeper with each slow thrust, “We shall see, we shall see…”

~ excerpt from an unpublished manuscript 2014


000 We Shall SeePhoto taken in November 1991 (in the late afternoon in the hacienda on the island).


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Death came looking for me the other night. I saw him standing over in the shadows as I was walking up the street to my apartment. So I walked over to him and said, “What the hell are you doing here?” He stared back, fire burning in his coal black eyes, his cold breath in my face. He pulled out his pocket watch and looked at it. “It’s your time,” he hissed. “Bullshit,” I answered, I had a couple of cards to play. “You haven’t got a clue. You seem to have forgotten a few things. First of all, I am nowhere near being finished working on the six hundred and twenty one photos I took last Friday for my supervisor’s publication. Now you know that he’s not going to buy me cutting out now and not getting all that work completed. Secondly, I have a gig next month. There is no way my management consortium is going to let me skip out on that contract, and you don’t want to mess with their lawyers at all. No way. And kind sir, you seem to have completely forgotten a most important detail, you know, the one concerning that little understanding we have about a certain incident in Paris last July. I mean, it certainly wasn’t my fault that I stumbled upon you cavorting with six or seven of Madame Claudel’s poules in her upper crust Pigalle bordello on that hot summer night. My goodness, there was a lot of leather and lace about. And they were such sweet young things too. You might recall that I agreed upon complete discretion. We did, if I remember correctly, have a gentleman’s agreement. We certainly wouldn’t want Mrs Death to get wind of your, how should we put it, extracurricular activities now would we. Especially when you should have been working.”

He looked again at his watch and then put it back in his pocket. For a brief moment he seemed at a loss for words. And then once again my eyes met his empty shrouded stare as he pushed out the words through clenched teeth. “Yes, a small misunderstanding on my part.” As he turned and walked away into the gloom he spat the words at me over his shoulder, “I’ll be back…”

000 DeathPhoto taken on Friday October 10th 2014.


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 000 Woolgatering




If you haven’t discovered this small treasure of a book yet, and I would doubt that there are any Patti Smith fans that haven’t, then I highly recommend it. And if you don’t know who Patti Smith is or haven’t read this Pulitzer Prize winning author’s works, then I must assume that you’ve been hibernating for the last 45 years. The original Woolgathering, a collection of sketches published 22 years ago in a small volume for Hanuman Books and distributed to a select group of people, was reissued in 2012 in a revised and slightly expanded edition. It is a poignant and exquisitely crafted series of personal insights of her childhood and her adult perspectives, in which she elevates observation to its finest point, a memoir that takes the reader behind the memory into the realms of the creative process itself.

One of the things that I have always found interesting about Patti Smith was her inspiration from rock idol sex god and poet, Jim Morrison. In her 2010 memoir “Just Kids” she briefly mentions Morrison’s influence on her writing and music. When she saw The Doors live in concert in 1967 and absorbed Morrison’s performance she thought, ‘I could do that!’ Time has certainly shown us that she could and that she has been able to take Morrison’s example to incredible new heights, both in her musical endeavours and in her finely honed prose. Woolgathering embodies the kind of writing that Morrison could only dream about through his sophomoric 1960’s poetical haze, the kind of writing he might have achieved if he had lived another 20 years and hadn’t OD’d in the grubby bathroom of a Paris nightclub and been smuggled back to his apartment to be thrown unceremoniously into that famous myth-filled bathtub. Time and experience seem to have made all the difference, as she states in the book, “How happy we are as children. How the light is dimmed by the voice of reason.” But the loss of that childhood innocence certainly hasn’t dimmed Patti Smith’s light or her ability to shine in wordcrafting. Morrison, eat your poor Parisian poet’s heart out. You left us way too soon to have reached the summit over which Patti Smith hovers today.

Below are a few more photos from last night’s concert. One of the interesting things that happened was when Patti featured her band on a number (I think it might have been the 1960’s song Psychotic Reaction) and she wandered down into the security zone in front of the stage to walk back and forth and talk a bit with the concertgoers. As she finished her stroll she came upon a mother holding a small child. I could see her exchanging words with the lady before she returned to the stage for the next song. Whereupon she told the audience in no uncertain terms that bringing a small child to such a loud performance without earplugs was unconscionable and she asked anyone with small children to “please protect their ears.” “If you don’t have any ear plugs,” she stated, “we have them here on stage.” In a concert where she infused her music with an incredible energy and improvised a number of poems, spit, cursed and pleaded for people to change their world, she also showed the care and concern of a mother. That was typical Patti Smith. And it was an unbelievable concert. Thanks Patti…

000 Patti Smith 5

000 Patti Smith 7

000 Patti Smith 9

000 Patti Smith 10

000 Patti Smith 12

000 Patti Smith 11All photos of Patti Smith And Her Band taken in Mainz, Germany on August 11, 2014.


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To Nicole

de su amigo




Photo of the 1953 Scribners edition of The Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway taken in Paris in May 2014.


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Good morning! In the continuing series of Old Correspondences To Long Forgotten Paramours being excavated out of long forgotten dusty digital files, this morning I offer an excerpt from a letter that briefly addresses the subjects of Men Dealing With Change and The Development Of A Believable Character, to be taken in the spirit of tongue in cheek, or if you prefer, thumb in cheek. It all began when the gentleman was informed that the lady had trimmed her hair…

“Ah, young lady, what is it about women, that they just don’t understand a basic thing about men? You see, women love change. They change their clothes, they change their hair, they change their makeup, they change their shoes, why they even change their minds from time to time. Men just don’t understand this. Men don’t like change, they like things to stay the same, you know, to hold steady, to maintain the course. Men feel uncomfortable with change, whereas women wear it like nature wears the seasons, with grace and ease. Women flow with change, for them it’s like poetry in motion. Men stumble over it and define it as a four letter word. Men will never understand change and women will continue changing, if only to keep irritating men…”

(Here please submit photo documentation of the extent to which hair was trimmed. Emergency phone numbers, should the gentleman requesting the documentation go into cardiac arrest upon viewing said photo, should be available in your cell phone).

“Now, you were saying that any writing about making love should be timeless and all inclusive, that it should be fantasy. Well, I’ll go along with the thought that what happens, how it happens, where it happens and when it happens can be written as fantasy, but the all important description and definition of the physical aspects of the whole process have to be based on realistic, accurate information. I do not want to write about a generic mannequin with vague physical attributes. I would want to be writing about making love to someone I really care about, a portrait of someone I can paint with colour and feeling, with truth and accuracy. Height, colour of eyes, colour and length of hair (see section on change above), shape and size of breasts, thighs, buttocks, back, legs, arms, neck, stomach, hands, feet, information about passionate response, auditory reactions, an accurate description of the fertile valley in the rainy season, all these things are absolutely essential to the understanding of how to create a realistic and believable character. The fact that you lather up so readily is an excellent example of the kind of information needed here. A beautiful image that needs further clarification and embellishment…”

(Here please submit a complete itemized and accurate summary of all the important details covered above and add anything else you might consider as beneficial to the development of a full and erotic character portrayal).

September 1st, 2011


Photo of Breakfast No. 1 at Haltbar, 9:00 AM February 8th 2014


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Sometimes my mind slips back to the life left behind in the 1950’s, before we moved to Europe. We lived in a military housing project directly outside the main gate to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, where my father was stationed. That was a magical time, a time of discovery. A carefree world of guiltless play, childhood fantasy and imaginative wonder. There were butterfly days in the summer when I’d chase down the Tiger Swallowtails and then alcohol them into butterfly heaven, mount them and trade them to my friends for toys, naturally upsetting their parents, who didn’t appreciate the work and skill I had to put into the enterprise. I’d have to return the toys and take back my butterflies…

There were the days when I’d play with my friends; we’d often play Army, either running around fighting battles with hand me down helmets and ammo belts and canteens from our dads or playing with Army men and jeeps, tanks and trucks. But we also pretended that we were adventurers, explorers. Off behind the housing area a long stretch of beautiful woods, along the sides of a small ravine, ran down to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The sunlight would filter down through the canopy of leaves in a soft golden summer shower and the wind would whisper its secrets in our ears when we would stop for a moment and listen. And there were many secrets. We were wise, even then, but no one knew it. This was, of course, a paradise as a playground for seven, eight and nine-year olds…

One Christmas, when I was seven years old, I received my greatest wish and was given a dinosaur set. Though interested even before that in things prehistoric, from that moment on it became the main theme of playing in those woods. There were dinosaurs living in the hidden coves and corners of that ravine. All of this was given visual imagery for me too, by a film my parents took me to see at the drive in movies, probably in 1957, called “The Beast Of Hollow Mountain,” one of those great stop action dinosaur films making the rounds in the theatres and drive ins. In those woods there was a crevice that cut into the side of the ravine, whether made by man or nature I never knew, revealing open layers of dirt and rocks. I always envisioned it as a place where a Tyrannosaurus, sleeping for eons, had awakened and broken free from his grave and stalked off to hunt us when we explored our wooded wonderland. And if anyone were to doubt the possibility of that scenario, there were fossils to be found scattered about in their hiding places to add to the authenticity of our prehistoric playground…

Back then my best buddy was a tousle-headed red-haired kid named Joey. We were down one day at the end of the ravine, where it fanned out and became the shoreline of the Bay. There we somehow discovered, and with great difficulty excavated, a large flat rock covered with very well preserved fossils of crinoids. Of course we didn’t know what they were called but we had seen them in books. They were so well preserved that we were afraid to take it home and show our parents, lest (I can’ today imagine why we would have thought this) they ask too many questions or think that we might have stolen it. I mean, it was really a museum piece. We also weren’t quite sure how we were going to allocate the ownership. The decision to sneak it upstairs to Joey’s room and hide it on the upper shelf in his closet was our mistake. When we went to look for it a few days later we discovered that his mother had found it and tossed it in the trash. A fossil treasure reclaimed by the Earth via a landfill I suppose. But there were other things to discover…

One day, walking alone down the trail through the woods alone I came upon a great oak tree one always passed on that path. But this time I happened to look down at its roots and noticed a smooth rounded stone sticking up between two large roots at the tree’s base. It didn’t look natural and I spent the next two hours slowly digging what turned out to be a long smooth thick cigar-shaped stone that obviously, even to an eight-year-old kid, looked like it had been shaped and smoothed by an unknown hand.  It reminded me of a rolling-pin. I took the hard earned treasure home, showed it to my parents who also found it very interesting. Eventually one of their friends identified it as an Indian maize roller, or corn grinder, used to grind the corn into flour. Proudly carrying it around the neighbourhood to show my friends, at some point I dropped it on the sidewalk and it broke into two evenly sized pieces, in which form it stayed upon various shelves in various habitations until some thirty-five years later, when I was working as an archaeologist and I had the restaurateur in our bureau restore it to one piece again. It now occupies an honoured place on a shelf in my living room…

Joey had an older sister who was probably about fourteen or fifteen and going up to his room I’d pass by hers, and if the door was open and I’d steal a glance in, having the door quickly slammed in my face if she happened to catch me. There within were all the trappings of a late 1950’s teenage girl’s room. Posters from magazines of Elvis and Fabian on the walls, pink bedspreads with fringe, a forty-five RPM record player with singles scattered about and usually Elvis crooning out a tune, bobby socks strewn about on the floor and a pair of penny loafers. If his sister was to be seen she’d usually be in there with a friend or two in jeans with rolled up cuffs, a blouse with the loose ends knotted in the front and her hair up in huge curlers, upon which the door would once again be slammed quickly shut…

The memory of the first incident of sexual awakening comes from this time too, if you can even call it that. I must have been about eight and would play with a girl who was at the most eleven, possibly twelve. She was into playing horses, as girls go through that phase at that age and I thought that there was nothing wrong with that, so we played together, even though my other male friends would have thought I was crazy to play such “girlie” games. But I liked playing with her, she was intriguing to me, a bit bossy because she was older, but also friendly and, well, very cute. And then too, she had asked me if I’d like to play with her. That counted for something. Playing together was sort of our secret. I made sure that my role in the game was masculine enough, that of a cowboy or a rancher. We would run across the close cut lawns between the apartment houses and a line of large shady trees. That was the horse meadow where she ran free and I, as the cowboy rancher, would try to chase her down…

Now at that age in the 1950’s you had no idea about sex. Or perhaps it would be better to say you had lots of ideas but no accurate information. My friends were convinced that babies formed in women’s breasts, but hadn’t a clue about how they got there. I wasn’t buying that theory because I’d seen too many pregnant women with their bloated bellies. This was, at any rate, not the kind of thing you asked your parents about, or if you did you got some sort of confusing gobbledygook for an answer…

One hot late summer afternoon we’d been running around for a while. I’d caught her a couple of times, and somehow that was always a nice feeling, the closeness of her face when I’d wrap my arms around her, the clean smell of her hair and the strange scent of her body. I was smart enough not to catch her every time, although I’m sure I could have. Anyway, on this afternoon we’d been running for some time and now agreed to take a breather in the shade of those trees. She stood facing me, a few feet in front of me. She was wearing a very loose-fitting light blue small checkered cotton blouse, buttoned half way, that is, just two buttons, down the front, the other two bottom ones being unbuttoned. A slight wind came up and, as she stood there, lifted one side of the blouse up, exposing a very flat chest and a nipple, only for a few seconds before the blouse slid back down to where it belonged. I had observed all of this as if it had happened in slow motion and I felt something inside me go “boing!” She was aware of nothing I’m certain, but that one small moment had awakened a feeling in me that I hadn’t known before and that stayed with me for the rest of my life. When I went home that evening that was all I could think about, that brief glimpse of a small brown nipple on her white flat chest. Even though what I had seen didn’t look that much different from my chest, I could sense the subtle sublime feeling that indeed, it was very different. I don’t think that we ever played together much again after that, soon the end of summer was upon us and school began, leaving little time to corral fantasy horses and peruse small brown nipples. And, as was the norm for an Army brat, at some point her father got transferred and they moved away…

Route 40 ran north-south straight through Aberdeen and running parallel to it on the eastern side there were the railroad tracks. The main shopping district and town centre was west of Route 40. I can remember, before we lived in the government housing, when we lived a bit closer to the downtown area in a small house east of the railroad tracks. I’d lie awake on a humid summer night with the window open and hear the big rigs rolling up and down Route 40 or the freight trains clacking by in the distance, their horns fading as the moved on. If you were headed east from the centre of town and crossed the railroad tracks, just past the crossing there was a street to the right that led down to the freight station. And down along that street there was a small café and donut shop. It was the hangout for all the local Beatniks. Now, they had really great donuts so my mother would drop by there on the way back from a Saturday afternoon of shopping to pick up a dozen. And she’d let me go in with her. It was a completely different world. No bobby socks and penny loafers. In the dimly lit, smoke-filled interior were small tables, around which sat teenagers in turtleneck sweaters and jeans, the girls with long hair and black slacks or skirts with black leotards. In the corner there might be a guy sitting with a guitar, or the jukebox might be on. No rock and roll here, only the smooth wail of some cool saxophone jazz softly filling the room. I loved going there. It was so completely different from anything I had ever seen. And somehow, even as a kid, I thought that my mother enjoyed stopping by there too, not just for the donuts, but to see what was going on. At any rate, it was my first exposure to what one would later call an alternative life style.  And it planted a seed…

There are a few other memories I have from that period. On the base there was a soft ice cream stand. Something like Mr. Softee or Dairy Queen. My father would take me and my mother in the car and drive out there for an ice cream cone.  It was usually on a hot summer night after dinner, we’d get waved though the main gate and drive past this huge cannon on a railroad car they had on display there that I think was called Anzio Annie. Aberdeen Proving Grounds was a huge sprawling base but it wasn’t that far to the stand. Once past the cannon we’d hook a right turn and drive a couple of hundred yards before taking a left where the ice cream stand was on the right hand side of the road, one of those typical 1950’s designs, with a slanted front façade with two service windows, and a drive in window on the side. I’d get a cone with a huge swirl of chocolate soft ice cream that had all these miniscule grains of chocolate in it. It was the best soft chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted. It had a rich chocolate flavour with a slight tang to it. Only later in the 70’s and 80’s, when I tried soft chocolate yogurt ice cream did I find something somewhat similar to that original taste. Strange how that ice cream and that taste has always somehow been a part of what has defined the 1950’s for me. When we reflect back upon our youth and past times, we usually have the tendency to embellish the good and forget the bad times. But I treasure my memories as very clear; I have almost no recollections of anything really bad back then. The world of the 1950’s had its order and its rhythm. It wrapped around us all, molding our consciousness, adding colour and warmth to our life’s palette as we painted our canvases with experience and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it all…

Written in Paris in May 2013


A photo from 1959, in Aberdeen, Maryland. I am holding one of my two almost grown Easter chicks. The ones the other kids had been given for Easter had all died. Mine lived and grew into two roosters that we finally had to give to a local farm because the neighbors didn’t appreciate their 5:30 AM serenades…


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